Category Archives: Meetings

The ISOTIS team discussed the development of the Virtual Learning Environment

The ISOTIS team met on June 26-27th, in the University of Milano-Bicocca, to discuss the development of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) proposed in the scope of the project. The aim of the VLE is to develop an interactive e-learning environment that can be used by children, parents, teachers and other professionals to support multilingualism, enhance the parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness in the classroom.

Our team discussed the main VLE functionalities, structure and users’ profiles and journeys. Main functions will be to provide resources, to facilitate communication and exchange through a social media structure, and to provide a collaborative space of work for professionals, parents, and children. The team focused on how to guarantee the most user-friendly interface for professionals, while also encouraging the creation of communities.

Our colleagues presented possible activities to be included in the VLE. Our goal is to select activities that strengthen community bonds, enhance communication and collaboration, and mobilize and value families’ and professionals’ resources.

ISOTIS team meeting: The study of educational inequalities during the life course

On May 31st, the ISOTIS team addressing patterns and mechanisms regarding inequalities in educational careers met in Dublin. During this interdisciplinary meeting, our colleagues discussed which measurement and method to use to study how inequalities develop during the life course. They also discussed which policies could potentially tackle (the growing) inequalities.

This meeting occurred in the beautiful Trinity College. The group picture shows the team visiting the library. From left to right, the members are: Henrik Daae Zachrisson (University of Oslo), Thomas van Huizen (Utrecht University), Giampiero Passaretta (Trinity college), Jan Skopek (Trinity college) and Jesper Rözer (University of Amsterdam).

Our colleague Pauline Slot (Utrecht University), who is addressing professional development in the scope of the project, also visited the meeting.






The ISOTIS team met to discuss project developments: VLE, promising educational practices and parent interviews

Between the 7th and 9th of March, the ISOTIS team met in the Utrecht University.

In the first day, the team discussed the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) proposed in the scope of the project. The team focused on how to develop its content in order to support multilingualism, enhance parent-school partnerships and promote inclusiveness in the classroom, taking into account its future use by parents, children and education professionals. In the next months, steps will be taken towards developing a user-centered platform.

In the same day, ISOTIS research Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa) led a meeting on the case studies of promising inclusive curricula and educational practices. The goal is to collect knowledge on key ingredients of effective approaches aiming to reduce educational inequalities through curriculum design and implementation, classroom practices, and/or school social climate, both in early childhood education and primary school. These case-studies will be conducted in England, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Italy. The studies will involve interviews with key staff and parents, and will capture children's perspectives, as well as analyses of documentation and published data, whenever available. During the meeting in Utrecht, the team discussed the interview guidelines and case study timeline.

On March 8, the team addressed the progress of the large structured interview study with parents who have a Turkish, Moroccan, Romani or lower-SES native background, and a 3-6 or 9-12-year-old child. We are asking parents about issues related to bringing up their children – their experiences with educational systems and support services, their hopes and wishes for their children, their resources and support needs. At this moment, the team has conducted almost 2000 interviews across Europe! During the meeting, the researchers shared challenges and good practices in each of the countries regarding the interviews, and gathered valuable input on the possible diversification of strategies to recruit families for the study.

The team will also conduct a smaller number of in-depth interviews with parents who participated in the large structured interview study, aiming to collect additional information on the experiences related to children’s education and upbringing. The first pilot interviews were already conducted, and the participating parents were very enthusiastic and happy to share their story! On March 9, the team analysed some of the information collected and exchanged some tips to further improve the interview procedures. The team-members were inspired by the richness of the data, and are excited about the new insights they will gain through these studies.  

ISOTIS first annual meeting

The first annual ISOTIS meeting was held in the Free University of Berlin, on December 3rd-6th. Our team discussed the work that had been developed and future steps. We had the privilege of welcoming the members of the ISOTIS Advisory Board, Tove Mogstad Slinde (Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research), Ljiljana Vasić (Pomoc Deci; Eurochild), and Davide Zoletto (UNIUD), and our invited expert Arno Engel (OECD). Their contributions were very relevant to our reflection on project activities, findings and future challenges.

The ISOTIS researchers addressing inequality in various stages of the educational career discussed the comparative assessment of social and ethnic-cultural inequalities in educational opportunities across European Countries.

The team of the parent interview study on children’s education and upbringing addressed the development of this study, and focused on the themes included in the questionnaire presented to parents (experiences related to the educational systems and support services, hopes and wishes for their children, resources and support needs).

The researchers addressing home education and family support programs discussed the review of potentially promising practices in supporting parents and families to create safe, nurturing and stimulating home environments for their children.

The team focused on inclusive curricula addressed the review of potentially promising practices aiming to reduce educational inequalities through curriculum design and implementation, classroom practices, and/or school social climate.

The team addressing professional development discussed the review on innovative strategies and models of professional development to support educators in dealing with diversity and inequality.

The researchers working on the development of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to support family-school partnerships, and intercultural and multilingual education specified the proposed VLE contents and experiences.

The researchers focused on inter-agency coordination of services for children and families addressed the review of the research literature and in-depth analyses currently being conducted on examples of successful inter-agency working.

Topics related to the dissemination of the results and communication with stakeholders were also addressed during the event.

Thank you to all ISOTIS colleagues, Advisory board members and invited expert, and organizing team from the Free University of Berlin.

The ISOTIS team met with experts

The ISOTIS team organized an expert meeting on June 22nd-23rd, hosted by the partner institution International Step by Step Association (ISSA) , which took place at the Child Rights Home, in Leiden, the Netherlands. Experts from different institutions and countries (meet them here) were invited to debate the following themes: profiling the target groups in ISOTIS; outreaching and participation; professionalism of the workforce; evaluation and outcomes of programmes; and program implementation and inter-agency coordination. The knowledge and the experiences shared by the invited experts allowed the ISOTIS team to gather important inputs for the development of the project.

The panel of experts and the highlighted topics in the scope of each theme were the following.

Profiling the target groups in ISOTIS

Multicultural and multilingualism need to be addressed in the field of education: it is important that children can have the opportunity to express themselves in their language; it is necessary to invest in the promotion of both first and second languages. The use of ICT can support multilingualism, since it allows efficient production of content (e.g. stories) in many first languages, that can be widely shared.

Panel of experts: Magdalena Skoro, Zorica Trikic, Peter Dixon, Iris Roose, Paulo André

Outreaching and participation

Bringing home and school closer together through accessible activities, projects and inclusive curriculum plays an important role in creating a sense of belonging to school in children. The implementation of home based learning programs, through partnership, may help parents in promoting children’s learning and development. The use of ICT may create reliable relationship between actors of education, and bring services focusing on education. To support outreach and participation, it is also important to invest on continuous bottom up activities, such as empowerment of immigrant associations and local projects, in addition to top-down policy level changes.

Panel of experts: Anna-Louise van der Merwe, Cristina Milagre, Zorica Trikic, Peter Dixon, Sally Smith, Mehmet Alpbek

Professionalism of the workforce

New ways of professional development go beyond focusing on the individual professional. Team based learning is a more effective way of improving practice that will enhance sustainability. This includes team meetings used for reflection and discussion everyday practice or professional learning communities. These types of activities can be organised face-to-face or by using digital technology.

Panel of experts: Angela Anning, Cristina Milagre, Iris Roose, Anke van Keulen, Sanja Brajković, Margy Whalley

Evaluation/outcomes of programmes

Program evaluation is very important: it serves both proving and improving purposes. Purposeful evaluation should consider both high-quality research methods but also take into account the flexible and cooperative nature of successful interventions and/or services supporting disadvantaged children and families.

Panel of experts: La Salete Lemos, Anna-Louise van der Merwe, Magdalena Szeniawska, Paulo André, Sally Smith

Program implementation and inter-agency

The analysis of key factors for success or failure in program implementation and in inter-agency work is very relevant. It is important to focus on relationships between professionals, in order to facilitate joint working, although it is a complex process which does not happen overnight.

Panel of experts: Angela Anning, La Salete Lemos, Magdalena Szeniawska, Anke van Keulen, Sanja Brajković, Margy Whalley


Meeting on data collection in the parent interview study (WP2)

On June 21st 2017, all ISOTIS partners involved in Work Package 2 (parent and child interview studies) held a data collection meeting in Leiden, the Netherlands. During this inspiring day, several topics on both the large-scale quantitative and in-depth qualitative parent interview study were discussed, which focuses on families’ resources, experiences, aspirations and support needs. Main topics were the recruitment and interview procedures, the data management plan and the specific focus of both studies. The work package leaders got valuable input to further develop the quantitative and qualitative parent interview study, which runs from October 2017 to March 2018. The child interview study is planned for the fall 2018.

Developing plans at the ISOTIS kick-off meeting

On January 15th – 17th 2017, the ISOTIS project has been officially launched with the ISOTIS Kick-off meeting. The meeting was organized by the Coordinator (Utrecht University) in Utrecht, The Netherlands. All ISOTIS partner institutions were represented at the meeting and the consortium welcomed also five Advisory board members, the ISOTIS Ethics advisor and the Project Officer from European Commission.